Length of Program: 2 YearsProgram Intakes: Fall Intake (September program start)September 2020


Equine Science Diploma

Please Note: Intake to the Equine Science Diploma program has been suspended for the Fall of 2020. Current students will not be impacted by this progam change.

“Olds College is the first place we contact. We have routinely hired Olds College students and graduates. The students are informed, aware of tasks that need to be performed and adapt quickly to our routine. The students have always been able to contribute new ideas and up-to-date information. We feel the instructors have always represented the students fairly and honestly, enabling us to hire with confidence.”

Carol Schaffer, Owner - Sandy Ridge Stallion Station

Olds College Equine Science student with horse

What can you expect from the program?

This nationally renowned Olds College Equine Science program is offered at Canada’s premier equine educational center making it amongst the elite in North America. As home of the Canadian Equine Centre of Innovation (CECI), we provide instructional expertise and modern facilities with extensive technological and industrial support.

What will you learn?

Equine Science students have an intensive program that teaches a rounded equine education including hands-on learning and in classroom theoretical learning.

Year one of our two year diploma program provides a general overview of Equine Science while year two provides students an opportunity to focus on specific areas of interest such as training young horses, business management, coaching, and more. Graduates will leave the program having learned extensively in:

  • Business and management procedures
  • Coaching beginner riders
  • Equine facility management
  • Genetics, breeding and conformation
  • Health care
  • Horse husbandry
  • Horsemanship
  • Nutrition
  • Riding skills (English or Western)

Program at a glance

Credential: Diploma

Length of Program: 2 Years

Method of Delivery: Olds Campus

Due to COVID-19 restrictions the fall 2020 term of this program will be offered remotely (online). Learn more...

Program Intake: Fall Intake (September program start)

Applications Open: December 2 for Fall Intake

Selection Process for Admission: Competitive based on testing

Tuition, Mandatory Fees, Books, and Supplies: Please refer to the current Fee Schedule for details

  • Year 1: Tuition & Fees: $5,890 / Books & Supplies: $8,440
  • Year 2: Tuition & Fees: $5,860 / Books & Supplies: $500

*These fees are provided as estimates only for the purposes of budgeting. Please note that all fees are best estimates and are subject to change.

What do I need to apply?

Admission Requirements

  • Meet the English Language Proficiency Requirement (completed at minimum 3 years of formal education taught entirely in English or provide the results of a recognized English Language Proficiency exam)
  • 50% or better in English Language Arts 30-1 or 30-2
  • 50% or better in Biology 30
  • 50% or better in Math 20-1 or 20-2
  • Submit a valid Alberta Class 5 Driver's License or a Class 5 Graduated Driver's License or equivalent (Class 7 learner's licenses cannot be accepted) before the program starts

Submit a Verification Form to verify the required 80 hours of Job Shadowing and/or Employment

  • Applicants must complete a minimum of 80 hours of paid and/or volunteer job shadowing and/or employment in an equine related business (may be completed on or outside of your family owned business/farm). We require these hours to be completed so the applicant is able to gain an understanding of the equine industry - the equine industry is both rewarding and challenging! Applicants to the Equine Science program should use this opportunity to generate an awareness of expectations, tasks, and responsibilities of individuals in the equine industry.
  • The hours may be gained from more than one equine related business.
  • The job shadowing and/or employment hours are not required to be completed through a school program/class.
  • The job shadowing and/or employment hours must be completed prior to the supervisor/employer signing the Verification Form.
  • The hours should include, but are not limited to: handling, grooming and feeding horses; care of tack and equipment; and care and maintenance of an equine facility. Riding, training, or competing with an employer’s horse as part of the hours may also be included.
  • Common locations to obtain the job shadowing and/or employment hours are training, boarding or breeding facilities, racetracks, or summer camps.
  • Although being in a pony club, 4-H, taking equine or riding courses/lessons, working at a tack shop or western clothing business and pleasure riding will help prepare you for the on-campus riding and practical test, these activities will NOT be considered as job shadowing and/or employment hours.
  • The required job shadowing and/or employment hours must be completed prior to being invited for testing.
  • The Verification Form must include the name and contact information of the supervisor/employer who most closely supervised the applicant in the location where the job shadowing and/or employment hours were gained. The applicant will need to submit one Verification Form for each job shadowing/employment that was used to gain the required hours.

Submit Videos of your Riding Test and Practical Test

  • Applicants must have submitted an application form, appropriate transcripts/proof of enrolment, completed a minimum of 80 hours of job shadowing and/or employment and submitted a Verification Form to be eligible for testing.
  • Applications will be pre-screened and all applicants meeting the minimum requirements will be invited for testing. An invite to test does not signify admission.
  • There will be a riding and practical test for all applicants.
  • Applicants will be provided patterns and instructions for the video submission. Evaluations and admission decisions will be completed within 4-6 weeks of the video submission.
  • The riding test consists of following a basic pattern with evaluators scoring mounting, hands, legs and body position, balance, and the use of cues and aids. Applicants will be required to show a walk, trot, canter/lope and a simple lead change. No jumping is involved. Western riders must mount from the ground.
  • The practical test will consist of basic horse handling and husbandry practices with the applicant demonstrating their knowledge of and experience with horses to adequately cope with the program material. This is a verbal and hands-on test and does not have a written requirement.
  • Applicants should wear appropriate English or Western riding attire (including a heeled boot and helmet) for the riding test and appropriate horse handling attire for the practical test.
  • Horses must be in a snaffle bit, therefore riders will ride two handed.
  • Spurs and whips are not permitted for the testing.
  • To prepare for the riding or video tests – please visit the Alberta Equestrian Federation website (or relevant provincial chapter) to look at the Equestrian Canada Rider Levels.
    • Applicants choosing to test Western are expected to be at Western Rider Level 1.
    • Applicants choosing to test English are expected to be at English Rider Level 2.

Academic Upgrading and High School Applicants: 
Applicants currently in high school or who are completing academic upgrading must submit proof of enrolment and any available interim/ mid term marks. Final marks must be submitted within one month following the completion of the course(s) and no later than one month prior to the program start date.

Out of Province Applicants: Please refer to the Provincial Equivalency Chart for course equivalencies.

International Applicants: Olds College welcomes applications from international applicants and those who have completed their high school education outside of Canada. Please note, it is still necessary to meet all of the noted admission requirements, including English Language Proficiency. Further information can be found on our website under International Students.

Where can I live on campus?

CHOC is the exclusive service provider of on-campus housing for Olds College. Live in Centennial Village, our newest campus living facility featuring 450 private suites (no roommates), or in College Courts our 4-bedroom townhouses. Enjoy a short commute to class, partake in weekly residence life events and enjoy the safety of living on campus.

Learn More

I have some more questions. Who do I contact for help?

Our Admissions office can help navigate you through the admissions process and answer any questions you have about your program of study.

Admitted Students

Admitted Student Information

Program Dates: Find out when you term start and end dates are, so that you know when you are expected to be in attendance. For more information, please review the Program Dates & Fee Schedule.

Class Registration: You will be registered into your classes automatically. This will happen approximately 1 month prior to the start-date for your program. You will be notified once you have been timetabled into your courses. You will be able to see your class schedule in your My Olds College account. If you need to make any changes to your class registration, please contact the Office of the Registrar.

Technology Recommendation: It is strongly recommended that you come to Olds College with the following technology:

  • A laptop is preferred (Mac or PC)

As part of your student accounts, all students have access to Office 365 for the duration of their time with Olds College. To access this you just need to follow these steps:

  • Go to portal.office.com
  • Enter your Olds College email address and password
  • Once logged in there is a button on the right that says "Install Office Apps"

This will give you access to the full Office suite on your computer, for both Windows and Mac based platforms.

Materials & Supplies:

A number of items are required for use during the first week of classes. You may purchase many of the non-textbook items in your local community or from various tack and supply stores. If you already own some of these items, it will not be necessary to purchase new equipment. Please ensure that any items that routinely come in contact with a horse (e.g. brushes, combs, halters, etc.) are thoroughly washed with soap, bleach and water before bringing them to the college. All equipment should also be in good repair and labeled with your name.

Equipment & Supplies

Saddles & Tack: We ask you to bring your own saddle, bridle, bits, and tack. However, we cannot be responsible if they are lost or damaged. While in riding classes each student will be provided with one locker for tack storage. You will be responsible for providing a lock.


  • A helmet is required for all young horse starting classes, English Horsemanship classes and is recommended for Western Classes.
  • Suitable riding boots and jeans, English jodhpurs or breeches are mandatory riding attire for all riding classes.
  • Coveralls, safety approved footwear (e.g. steel or composite toed boots), and leather work gloves are required for some classes.
  • Down-filled jackets, sweaters, winter boots, gloves and warm headgear will make your life much more pleasant when the temperature reaches -40°C, so bring plenty of warm winter clothing with you.
  • In the spring, conditions can be quite wet and muddy; thus rubber boots and rain gear are recommended.

Information on other required textbooks and any further supplies will be provided as you attend each class. All books and supplies will be available during the first few weeks of classes in the College Campus Store.

Other Important Information:

  • Dress Code: We expect all students in the Equine Science program to dress as professional horse people during class time.

  • Time Requirements: You will be attending class approximately five to seven hours per day. Classes are normally scheduled between 8 am - 5 pm, though some are scheduled in the evenings and on weekends. You should anticipate approximately 2 to 3 hours of additional study each night.

  • Student Clubs: The Rodeo Club and Judging Club are also very active and successful clubs and membership is open to anyone registered as a student at the college and is interested in these activities.

  • First Aid Certification: First Aid Certification is important for this industry due to the involvement with horses.  All students in the program are required to have their standard first aid certification. If this certification has already been completed, you will provide a copy of your certificate once you are on campus in September. If you have not completed this certification, please be prepared to spend approximately $200 for a weekend course that will be offered in the Fall.

  • Driver's License: A driver’s license is required as all students in the Equine Science program will be expected to drive farm equipment such as tractors and trucks.

  • Horse Boarding: There is minimal boarding at the College for horses other than those being used in classes. Board horses are kept in large, multi-horse outside pens and are fed by round bale. The limited spots are assigned on a first come, first serve basis. Arena riding times are also very limited. Please contact Bill Harper at bharper@oldscollege.ca if you are interested. There are some stables close to Olds that routinely board horses for students and that you may wish to contact if you want to bring your horse with you. They are Mane Attraction Stable at 403.990.0786, Vonavet Stables at 403.224.2662 and Rock Spring Farm at 403.335.4519.

  • Horses for Class: Horses used for class activities are provided by Olds College clients. Student owned horses are not used in riding classes.

  • Chores: You will be participating in the care of the horses at Olds College, which will include doing chores as part of a team. Each chore team will be expected to work for 7 days, every three or four weeks throughout the school year. On those weeks that your team is on chores, there will be two to five hours (daily) of feeding and caring for horses, to be done before and after regular class hours. Chores begin the first day of class, so please be prepared to do chores should your team be the first one selected to start that day.

  • Continuing Education: You may wish to participate in one or more, of the many equine continuing education courses that will be offered at the College during the academic year. These courses are not required for your Equine Science diploma, however, you may find some of them to be highly beneficial additions to your education here at Olds College. The price of these courses is variable. If you would like additional information concerning the specific courses that will be offered next year and their associated costs, please contact Continuing Education.